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Hip Hop Music Maker – 5 Tips To Enhance The Sound Of Your Productions Instantly
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Hip Hop Music Maker – 5 Tips to Enhance the Sound Of Your Productions Instantly

I know how it is to be on both sides of the fence as a hip hop music maker, where your friends and family tell you that your beats sound great as you play those beats for them looking for an honest opinion, and all the while you know in the back of your mind that those beats sound awful.

You only wanted an opinion so that you could focus on where you could improve.

When I first got started, I swear my beats sounded as if a cat ran across my keyboard and I just so happened to press record as it was all going down. Needless to say, I knew that my people were telling me that they liked my music more or less because they were happy to see me pursuing my dreams.

Nowadays, after 7 years of practice, study, failure and success, I’m glad to say that my beats sound WAYYYYY better; and I can create radio ready productions without much effort. Now when I play my beats, instead of getting the “I like it, I like it” response, I now get the “oh that’s you?” response. It tickles my black self pink every time, as that lets me know that I’m definitely on to something and I’m sounding like any of the other professional beat makers out there.

So, if you are new to production, and you feel as if your beats suck, fret not. I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve that I would like to share with you that can instantly transform the sound of your beats from the very moment you being implementing these techniques into your own productions. These tips ain’t for the faint at heart, so be warned…. You just might stumble across some dopeness ya damn self. So here we go…

1. Use a High Pass filter on Every Track.

Yes, every track. The reason that your tracks sound muddy , and you’re not able to gain that clarity and brightness that you hear on commercial productions is because you have too many unwanted and unnecessary frequencies crowding your audio spectrum, and you gotta give your tracks room to “breathe.” Slap a high pass filter on your kick drum track for examples sake, and start at 0 Hz and turn the dial until you notice a significant change in the sound of your kick drum, as if the bottom end is almost not there.

From that point, cut the dial back about a quarter of the way to the left. Doing this on every track will remove the unnecessary frequencies and give your tracks more room for you to carve out their own space with EQ. And remember, EQ is not always necessary, as if you can hear each instrument in your mix clearly; you probably don’t need to EQ at all.

2. For Variety in Your Sound, Experiment With Many Different Drum Kits

When I first started out, every beat that I made had an 808 kick and clap combination, mainly because that’s a sound that I LOVED, and it was also popularly used on many of the beats I was hearing on the radio. To avoid sounding redundant, try drum kits that aren’t even labeled within your production genre.

For instance, every DAW has a library of drums, all with kits labeled according to a specific genre of music. So, if your genre is hip hop for instance, try using a jazz or pop labeled drum kit. You’ll be surprised that you’ll find some dope sounding kicks, snares, hats and cymbals within those other kits as well. Try em’ out for size, and freak em’ with some added reverb and/or distortion as an effect, or none at all; and see what it is that you’re able to come up with. Try it out.

3. Get Into Sampling Cinematic Themes

I don’t think that anyone is better able to capture a mood through music than cinematic composers, so if you’re trying to convey a specific mood within your music, try sampling some soundtrack instrumentals and throwing a dope drum pattern on top of it! How do you think looping the “JAWS” theme to an 808 pattern would sound? Try it out for yourself before I do.

4. Much Like Clothes on Sexy Women, Less is More

Sho nuff! Boy, DO NOT have ten tracks playing at the same time, this will lead to mass confusion. Your beats are to have movement and variation throughout as to keep your listener interested and listening… You should have no more than a drum pattern/fills, vocals, chord progression for whatever instrument, and a melody playing at any given period within your song.

And also, that arrangement should change as well, as your track goes from intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, and outro. I would suggest that you put one of your favorite songs on repeat, get out a notepad, and then write down what instruments are playing, when they are playing, how long they are playing, and at what point does each instrument come into the track, and when it’s taken out. There’s a wealth of information concerning song structure and arrangement that can be learned by doing this exercise, so you owe it to yourself to try it.

5. Find a Collaborator

There’s a reason that Chad and Pharell work so well together, they play off of each other’s production strengths and weaknesses! I read a while back that Pharrell was the man when it came to picking drum samples and arranging patterns as he played drums in their high school band, and Chad played tenor saxophone, so you know he was on it when it came to melodies. Not to mention they had the great Teddy Riley behind them in the beginning…

But all of that is to say that if you excel at playing piano, find a collaborator who is an unknown and starving songwriter, and get to laying down those ideas! I can’t write a song to save my life, but I can surely make you a beat, any day. Work with someone who can help you to blast your career off into the cosmos, you don’t have to go at it all alone.

Young Whodi, keep at it with your beat making, don’t give up, and practice every chance you get. You’ll be on top looking down at the world before long. Believe that… Better Beats Ahead.


Street Talk

This is probably one of the most comprehensive articles I've read about beat making. I love the fact that you broke it down and even discussed what knobs to turn and how much. I liked it:)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks man! I'm always trying to give something of use to my readers, I like to share what little bit I know!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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